Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Chase has been tightening their credit card application policies. And now there are rumors they’ll apply the stricter rules to co-branded airline and hotel cards, like the Chase Hyatt, Chase IHG Rewards, or Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Card.
According to Doctor of Credit, Chase may soon stop approving folks for co-branded cards if they’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months.
I do NOT have confirmation of these changes. But I’ll share what I know and what you should do if you’ve been considering these cards!
If you’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months, you’re unlikely to get approved (although some folks report exceptions).
And last month, I shared that these new rules would likely be extended to Chase Ultimate Rewards small business cards, like the Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Cash, starting in March 2016.
Now, it’s rumored these restrictions will apply to Chase co-branded airline & hotel cards beginning some time in April 2016.
I do NOT have confirmation. But Doctor of Credit reports the information comes from a trustworthy source.
Cards the new rule could impact include:
- Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card
- Chase Fairmont
- Chase Hyatt
- Chase IHG
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
- Chase Ritz-Carlton
- Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier (Personal)
- Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier (Business)
- Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus
- Chase United MileagePlus Explorer (Personal)
- Chase United MileagePlus Explorer (Business)
- Chase United Club
If this is true, it’s bad news for folks in our hobby who already have lots of cards. Chase has some of the best airline and hotel rewards cards for Big Travel with Small Money. Including many of my favorite deals in travel!
What Should You Do?
If you’re new to our hobby, and haven’t yet applied for many cards, the rumored changes shouldn’t affect you in the short term.
But more seasoned miles & points enthusiasts often already have lots of cards. So this change could narrow your options considerably if you’re thinking about new Chase cards.
If you’ve opened ~5+ cards in the past 24 months, you may want to apply for Chase co-branded cards soon. And you’ll have some decisions to make, because Chase typically will NOT approve folks for more than 1 or 2 cards at a time.
1. Evaluate Your Travel Goals
If you’re saving miles & points for a specific trip, this might be your cue to apply for the airline or hotel card that best fits your goals.
Even if your plans aren’t firm, you could consider cards that offer you the most flexibility. For example, you can use United Airlines miles to book award flights on United Airlines and their Star Alliance partners. So the Chase United Explorer card could be a good choice.
If you collect hotel points, the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier might be a solid option, because it has an improved 80,000 Marriott point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements.
And Marriott and Starwood will merge later in 2016 to create the world’s largest hotel chain. So you’ll have lots of destinations to choose from.
2. Consider Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences
Cards like the Chase Hyatt can open the door to luxury travel you might not otherwise experience. With this card, you’ll earn 2 free nights at any Hyatt (including their top-category hotels!) after you complete the minimum spending requirements.
The sign-up bonus on this card is very valuable! And it’s a terrific card to keep, because you’ll get a free night in a category 1 to 4 Hyatt each year on your card anniversary. It’s a card I gladly pay the annual fee for. Here’s my review.
3. Don’t Forget the Southwest Companion Pass
That’s because you need to earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. And applying for 2 Chase Southwest cards can get you most of the way there!
I love Southwest because everyone gets 2 free checked bags and there are no change or cancellation fees. It’s still my favorite deal in domestic travel!
4. Go for the Big Bonuses
Increased sign-up bonuses come and go, but if the new rules take effect, you may not be able to take advantage of improved offers if you already have lots of cards.
Even if you don’t want to earn the full bonus, this card is still a terrific deal. Remember, you can use British Airways Avios points for cheap short-haul (under 1,150 miles) flights in the US on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines. Or to book the cheapest awards to Hawaii from the West Coast!
As always, I’ll update you as soon as I hear more details about these changes.
It’s now rumored that Chase will tighten the application rules for co-branded (airline and hotel) cards starting in April 2016.
Currently, if you’ve opened ~5+ credit cards in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for a Chase Ultimate Rewards point-earning personal card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom. And in March 2016, Chase Ink small business cards may also be affected.
Chase has some of the best cards for Big Travel with Small Money. So the new rules will make it much harder for many folks who already have lots of cards.
It’s a good reminder that our hobby is constantly changing, and we have to be ready to adapt. I’ll share any updates I receive about this new development!
* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 20,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!